My Life As A Hurricane Our community is used to the threat of tropical weather. Usually, the early notices start with escalated threats that ultimately result in a windy rain storm passing over our area causing very little damage. In the hours leading up to the arrival of Hurricane Michael it became obvious this storm was going to be different. At 100 miles inland, we were too far north to be part of the normal evacuation plan. Meteorologists began forecasting that the storm would still be holding hurricane strength by the time it reached us. Our home was well within the forecasted cone of the most intense blows. We hunkered down watching the news and tracking the storm through every available medium. Then, just as the storm made landfall on the coast, all power, internet, and cell service was lost. So, we sat . . . and waited . . . not knowing what was coming. As the hours passed, it was impossible to know if what we were experiencing was the worst or just the beginning. My D-day was May 4, 2017 at 8:00 P.M. I always thought the initial discovery was similar to that feeling you get immediately after hitting your thumb with a hammer. While you can't feel it yet, you know it's about to hurt like hell. As we sat and waited during the storm I realized D-day was also similar to the feeling of waiting on a hurricane. A destructive force beyond my control was on its way, and I had no idea what my world was going to look like in the morning. As I sat in reflection I began contemplating what the "present me" would say to the "18 months ago me" on the initial night of discovery. No doubt, I have changed in many ways since the night this recovery journey began. I think my insight would've sounded something like this: You have just experienced major trauma, and this is going to take a lot longer to make sense of than you can comprehend right now. While some of the unexplainable problems in your marriage just became crystal clear, others will not be evident for some time. You only knew parts of your wife. There is a darkness in her that was fostered at a young age by years of abuse and dysfunction that developed her into a woman who was capable of using sex as a coping skill. In her current state, she is unconscionably self-absorbed, allowing herself to be destructively consumed with satisfying an unquenchable need to be validated and praised. You did not create this, you could not have known it was coming, and you cannot fix her. Therefore, we are not going to focus on her. Our energy is needed elsewhere - we have work to do to save you. There is great opportunity in what lies ahead. Whether you accept it or not, it is about to become painfully obvious how little control you have over anyone around you; especially your wife. For a while, you will have great trouble controlling your own mind and emotions. Dark emotions will consume you and visions of deviant and disgusting betrayals by your wife will haunt your thoughts. You will not be able to eat or sleep and you will feel more alone than you ever knew was possible. For the first time in your life, death will seem like a viable solution to your problems. At times, you are going to want desperately to sweep the betrayals away and move on quickly. Fight this urge, it will not work. Walk through where you are now and remember that this pain is really just a feeling. It is small and you are greater than it is. I will have to remind you of this fact often as we walk ahead. The only way to the other side, with you intact, is to fully immerse yourself in grieving all you have lost. The process will have many similarities to the one you experienced when you lost your father too early, but the pain will be greater, and the isolation will be new. Practically speaking, you are going to need some professional help… as soon as you can get it. Unfortunately, it may not be easy to find. Infidelity as a trauma is relatively new science, and it is lagging in its development, especially for betrayed men. Family, friends, your church, even many therapists who mean well and truly care for you, simply do not know how to help. Know that competent resources are out there, but be patient in locating the right source. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to start with the right help. Friendships are going to shift. Some old friends will grow distant while new friends will emerge. Relationships that were safe places to share the struggles of life with yesterday may not be today. Just let this be. Your instincts to be cautious in who you talk to about this are healthy. We are going to lean on God like you never have before; He has you. He will provide help. We just have to humble ourselves to accept it, even when it comes in unexpected forms. For years you have given sound judgment to clients in your law practice advising them not to make decisions quickly or based on emotions. As you say, "If it is a good idea today, then it will be a good idea tomorrow." Now it's time for you to follow your own advice. Do not make any major decisions about anything you do not have to until you know you are ready. This may take a long time. Do you remember that guy in high school? The Ferris Bueller type who seemed to be as comfortable with the nerds as he was the jocks? You remember how people followed you in college, how you could bridge a room divided in opinions and personalities? While you are grown up now and know well how to navigate black tie evenings and complex negotiations, perhaps it's time to admit you are still more comfortable at the kids' table come Thanksgiving. Somewhere along the way we let pieces of you get overrun with ambition and achievement. Let's take the time needed to go find those lost traits again, they are valuable. It is time to remember where you came from, the integrity of your parents and grandfather, the values they modeled for you. Oh . . . and that faith of yours that you've become so casual with… why is that? Time will tell what becomes of her. You allowed yourself to be defined by your marriage and in doing so you created an idol of it. God only wants relationships that grow His will for you, and His will is never to harm you. Yes . . . that means you are greater than your marriage. You are not defined by her selfish and humiliating acts. Patience and grace on yourself my friend. We will rise.